The evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in tension-filled Middle East is a “gargantuan” task but the Senate is ready to help to assist them.
Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri stressed this on Tuesday amid the situation facing OFWs in the Middle East, given the escalating conflict between the United States and Iran.
President Duterte has raised the possibility of asking the Senate and the House of Representatives to hold a special session to discuss a supplemental budget for the repatriation of over OFWs who might be affected by the tension in the Middle East.
“If ever the President will request for a special session for the need to pass a supplemental budget to help repatriate our kababayans from the Middle East,” Zubiri said.
“We in the Senate are prepared to act on his request and can meet at any time in the interest of our OFWs,” he said in a text message.
He added, “The President can also utilize for the meantime the billions of pesos of contingency funds in the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, available for repatriation immediately.”
“Those funds are readily available for these emergencies,” the senator from Bukidnon said.
“We also support the President’s plan to set up a Crisis Committee in charge of the massive plan to bring back our OFWs in case war breaks out between Iran and the US and its allies such as Saudi Arabia, which hosts over a million Filipino workers,” he said.
“That is a gargantuan task, and we would need the support of all our government agencies to be able to bring home such a large number of people,” he said.
Zubiri also lauded the President’s “quick action on this rather than just waiting and being reactionary after the crisis actually happens.”